#Review #ReleaseDay : Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight

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Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: October 1st 2019 by Emilie Lassaline
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 450
Stars: ★★★★★

Dagger and Scythe spent good decade’s together, stalking human prey at night, and taking out the targets the god Maniodes deems worthy. With one hundred years under her belt, Scythe is comfortable in her ways, and takes incredible enjoyment of her skills. Dagger may be new to the undead order, but he’s relishing in the work. The two of them together set beautiful bonfires, with the occasional corpse inside that fire.

When they enjoy each other’s time a little too much, and an entire village burns down because of it, Maniodes becomes sick of their rogue behavior. Regular punishments haven’t worked on either of them, so he tries something new: marrying them to each other. To keep each other in line or they’ll both end up properly dead.

Both have grown tired of the god’s odd punishments and lazy control, taking over his throne and the land of the dead should fix things.

Her scythe is perfectly curved for slicing.

His dagger, made of folded steel, is ready to strike.

But are they strong enough to take on gods?

Previous book I read in the series-

Era of Undying

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for the copy. ***

Dagger and Scythe was dark fantasy that had a bit of romance, mythology and lots of gore. It revolved around Dagger and Scythe, main characters of the book married off with each other as punishment by God of Underworld and their uncomfortable married life filled with bloodlust and rebellion against God. It was about respecting humans, treating and leading those under your power with respect, loved, and friendship.

First the writing was good, fast paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

Though it is second in series, it can be read standalone. The writing was good, steady paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

World building was best. Whatever complain I had for the first book was settled in this. First books explored the land of livings while this explored land of dead in detail. Landscape of Skiachora, its inhabitants, palace of Maniodes, Nyx and her children, Incruetus Ferrum and their odd jobs and powers all were described flawlessly. I especially liked the legends around Nyx and her children, how she created them, their mistake and punishments that they still have to abide. Oh and Maniodes’ library was most marvelous. It would be among most fascinating libraries in fantasy world.

Dagger and Scythe were not really likable, not at least in the first half of the book. Both were dangerous, rebellious, violent and disrespectful of both their Gods and humans. Dagger was calm, little restrained, sensible and diplomatic while Scythe was reckless, extremely volatile and chaotic. Together they made deadly combination, so deadly that they burned whole village just for fun. That was what started the series of punishments, jobs testing their restrains and what they were learning from it.

It started with their first punishment by Maniodes– God of Underworld and Son of Nyx, Goddess of Death- who forced them to marry each other. That made them even more spiteful and rebellious against Maniodes. Maniodes was not that bad but treated all Incruentus Ferrum (other dead minions of Maniodes, like Scythe and Dagger, who did his bidding by killing people to restore order) lowly, never considered their wishes and feelings and disbanded some for their smallest mistake. Scythe and Dagger couldn’t take it anymore and decide to go against him, main plan was to overthrow him but this was God they were talking about. How would they go against Maniodes whose touch can kill their very essence and soul, they could lose their second lives and put all other ferrum in danger? And then Nyx had some plans for them too, were they in their favor or against them? Would she let them take over her son’s throne?

It was interesting to read their story. I had no idea how they were going to do it, what clue they will find or how they will execute the plan. Most fascinating was characters’ stories and their development, their growing relation with sentries and other Ferrums. No matter how unlikable and scary Dagger and Scythe were, once they started feeling the change in them, I ended up liking them both.

I was wondering why they were so cruel, violent and heartless, because they were all nice in the previous life and after what they have gone through they should have compassion, maybe not for all, but for someone who had similar life as theirs. I’m glad author covered that part in the book as well which was important, was in the center of character development.

Romance was also great. Both characters knew each other for long time, flirted even but marriage came with complex and confusing emotions in their friendship. They both felt emotions that they never experienced in ages- jealousy, lust, worry, love, protectiveness, fear of losing other. The relation that was forced on to them actually brought out best in them. They made perfect pair like yin and yang.

I liked how all events took place. Snooping and sneaking was exciting, it brought surprising twist. Climax was action packed, bitter, edgy, and uncertain. It was most interesting to read the next events. Lot of things happened and end was fair and as I expected. I knew in whose favor it would be as I have read first book. I wouldn’t want it in other way.

Overall, it was gripping, creepy, twisted and dark fantasy with elements of mythology, paranormal romance, and a good character development.

Book Details: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

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#BlogTour #Review : Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow (Barnabas Tew #4) by Columbkill Noonan @rararesources @columbkillnoon1

Hello Readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Please check out book details and my review of this book in this post.

Previous Book I read in the series-

1) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab
2) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds
3) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Cursed Serpent

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan
4th in series
Publication Date: September 18th 2019
Publisher: Darkstroke
Genre: mythology / cozy mystery / humor
Pages: 205
Stars: ★★★★★

Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!
Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.
Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they how to use it.  Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.
Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.
The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.
Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?

*** Note: I received e-copy from the author, as a part of Blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Rachel and author. ***

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow, fourth in Barnabas Tew series, was entertaining, humorous cozy mystery that revolved around two bumbling Victorian detectives plunged into Indian mythology with another mystery to solve for Indian God. It was about enlightenment on Karma, Dharma, eternal life and death cycle that of course, these two detectives had hard time to understand.

Characters

What do I tell you about characters that I haven’t said before in review of first 3 book?! Once again they were fun to read. They were lovable and cutest detectives I ever read.

Barnabas was his usual bumbling, over-reactive, he might call himself ‘master of diversion and subterfuge’ but actually is ‘master of blunders’. However, at heart he was pure and courageous and his conscience was on right side. And he loved his assistant whom he gave credit time to time and even gave promotion in this book.

Wilfred was wise, clever, and perceptive one who could understand situation better, always knew how to correct his master’s blunder, knew Barnabas better than himself and yet so very humble. He loved Barnabas enough to follow him anywhere.

What I liked-

Writing was great, I loved British Victorian style in dialogues, expression of characters, situations and third person voice. All were described vividly. I said this before and I’m saying again, I want to see these books in movie. I loved setting and mythical part. As it was Indian mythology I knew about the God and their appearance and stories but the way author blended it with the current story was mind-blowing.

Book started with confusion and arguments between Barnabas and Wilfred over which world they have landed after plunging into cenote (that argument was almost 2-3 pages long! I tell you only these two can perform such lengthy arguments. They are quite expert in it and making you laugh over it). After solving a case for Mayan Goddess, they were shown how to travel between worlds by plunging into cenote focusing on the place they want to go. First time they were given a choice, but ended up in totally different world than they thought, India.

And to make situation even more hilarious that turned Barnabas redder than tomato, they were landed in home of Kamadeva. This time the case was to sop the death of Prince Rama. It looked quite simple, go to Rama’s abode, stop people from bringing any harm to him but well no case is as simple as that when it is in hands of Barnabas and Wilfred.

On the journey of solving the case, they got tangled into series of unfortunate events. They were turned into fish, forced to solve another case, made unlikely friends and ally, faced the sea monster, and met an enlightening cow, Ganesha, and Shiva-the Destroyer.

Enlightening cow and crabby enlightened our two detectives about Karma, Dharma, incarnations, cycle of birth and rebirth, importance of death and personal and spiritual growth. But of course, it all was indecipherable for Barnabas and so any such enlightening topics were followed by long discussions, arguments, tantrums, emotional outburst, and his signature style ‘Good day’, more than often.

There were many laugh out loud moments, howlers, funny situations and characters’ funny questions and dialogues. Most of the time imagining Barnabas’ expressions, temper, and his obstinacy itself was hilarious. I so enjoyed their diversion tactics. Best hysterical moment was Barnabas’ reaction to Ganesha’s story and the way he perceive ‘Dal’ (it was spelled ‘Dhal’ in book) as doll.

Coming to the mystery, it was most unusual than previous three books. They were given the task but on their way of solving the case, they got to know about surprising facts which were shocking for our detectives and ended up into doing exactly different, and messing it as well. They learned many things and the most important lesson for them was, results are not important it’s the journey you should enjoy.

Climax was fun and entertaining. I laughed so much at double j’accuse moments. End was blunderful and messy, but enlightening. Now I can say this series ended here because they are not going anywhere this time or are they? It was great installment of the series.

Overall, it was fun, comical, cozy, fast paced mystery with amusing dialogues and characters. I definitely recommend this book.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Enlightened-Cow-ebook/dp/B07VN5MT8C

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Enlightened-Cow-ebook/dp/B07VN5MT8C

Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Author Bio:

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling “Barnabas Tew” series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any books in this series?  Have you read any book with Indian mythological setting? What are your favorite books in this genre?

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

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The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan
Publication Date: 2013 (first published May 5th 2009)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Read Date: April 27th 2019
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy / Greek Mythology
Pages: 361
Stars: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

MOST PEOPLE GET PRESENTS ON THEIR SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY. I GET A PROPHECY THAT COULD SAVE OR DESTROY THE WORLD. 

It happens when you’re the son of Poseidon, god of the sea. According to an ancient prophecy, I turn sixteen and the fate of the entire world is on me. But no pressure.

Now Kronos, Lord of the Titans, is beginning his attack on New York City. And the dreaded monster Typhon is also heading our way. So it’s me and forty of my demigod friends versus untold evil . . .

The Last Olympian was the perfect last book of the series that take place in New York City with so much actions and destruction and Percy trying hard to save his city and home of Gods over the Empire State Building.  It was about friendship, bravery and consequences of bad choices, true meaning of family, betrayal and treachery, learning from mistakes, and bringing change in the way of life and nature for the better future.

It started with attack on Princess Andromeda, tragic death, Titan’s plan and Nico’s warning and urgency to act on the plan he proposed a year back that Percy was avoiding until now. Now that he faced Kronos and experienced his strength for the first time, he knew if he wished survive again and fight Luke, he had to act on Nico’s plan asap. Oh, and he finally got to know about full big prophecy that said he was going to die!

God at war with Titan leaving the Olympus unprotected, sea God bust in protecting his own palace, Hades holding years long grudge against Zeus decided not to help his brethren, Nico desperately trying to get some answers about his mother and then helping Percy, Ares and Apollo bickering over petty issues. Phew, lot was going on in first few chapters only.

How Percy was going to save the gods and their home, will he be doom of Olympus or protector, and how was he going to fight Kronos that didn’t include dying? It was tense and exciting to read this final Installment of the series. I was curious to read the final battle.

There was humor here and there alright but things were getting serious, there was death looming over Percy and Gods were on the battle field in their best armor, New York City was under the sleep spell with destruction all around it.  So, it needed the serious, tense, and on-the-age-of-the-seat tone and author did it fantastically. Like, ‘we are not going to laugh so much like we did in previous books until we’ve chopped up Kronos and sent him back to Tartarus‘.

In this, Percy visited his father’s realm, finally, and I tell you it was wonderful minus all the battle raging down there; met Hestia-the Last Olympian and I was curious to read her importance as the title was given after her and after reading the book I could tell how appropriate it was; met some deadly Titans Morpheus- he can cause deadly dream and I’m sure one won’t need benzos around him, Prometheus- not-so-deadly but cunning for sure, Hyperion with burning light and a monstrous storm-giant who wreck such a chaos; . and slayed long list of monsters.

There were many other important answers I finally got in this book like -Luke’s childhood and what made him bitter towards his parents, Nico’s mother and how he and his sister were sent to Lotus casino, Hades’ curse and how the prophecy was twisted in many ways, Rachel’s talent and her importance in immortal’s world, spy in the camp and how Luke twisted people’s mind to get his revenge, role of Luke and Ethan and many other rogue demigod’s in new upcoming change in Immortal’s world, and Annabeth’s hope and what Luke was for her, Percy’s role in the prophecy.

There was twist and turn in each chapter, each chapter was dripping with friendship, courage and bravery, tricks and surprises. Don’t forget the titles of each chapters, they were so catchy that made me want to read what’s in the chapter. Percy not only gave so many thought-provoking lessons to readers but also made the Gods ponder over it.

World-building, plot, characters, myth everything was impressive and well balanced. Percy, Annabeth, Grover and Clarisse were the star of the book. New development in Percy and Annabeth’s relationship was lovely and cute. It was also tragic to see so many deaths and destruction because of worst consequences of bad actions.

Climax was wonderful. Loved the way Percy and Nico convinced their dads and oh my, that final battle was just brilliant. Each and every campers, immortals, and mortals fought amazingly. End was unique with many insights, change in immortals’ world- I loved that new blue print of camp half-blood in the end, and another big prophecy that was just as confusing and dangerous as previous one, maybe more!

Overall, I just loved it. Can’t wait to read next spin-off series. It was riveting, entertaining, insightful, and impressive urban fantasy dripping with Greek myth and Humor that I recommend to fans of this genre.

Author : Rick Riordan

Previous books in series:

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The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan
Publication Date
: August 21st 2013 (first published March 6th 2008)
Publisher : Puffin
Read Date : April 20th 2019
Genre : Greek Mythology / Middle Grade / Adventure / Urban fantasy
Pages : 342
Stars : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

HONESTLY, BLOWING UP ANOTHER SCHOOL WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED TO DO.

As the son of a Greek god, I’ve had my share of near-death disaster – and now my arch enemy Luke wants to invade our camp via an ancient Labyrinth.

If he succeeds, thousands of bloodthirsty monsters will attack. So it’s goodbye sunshine, hello darkness as four of us descend into the terrifying underground and beyond… 

“People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed.” 

Another wonderful book in Percy Jackson series. This is the book I didn’t remember much after the first read and I enjoyed this more than first time read. This series has always been my favorite and on rereading it only has made it sure.

Writing was simple yet amazingly gripping and full of entertainment. Sarcasm and humor dripping through every page. Exciting battle, tricky situation and thrilling adventure kept me on the age. This series defines fast pace perfectly and I loved the plot

It started with first day of school, just orientation day, and Percy’s luck was twisted by fates, AGAIN! He met vampires with mismatched legs and a redheaded girl, Rachel who could see through mist and to whom he met in previous book at Hoover dam. After running away from burning music room of the school Percy arrived at camp where he learnt about wine dude’s replacement, met Tyson ‘yayy he’s back’, received Iris message sent by mysterious person from which he learnt the sinister plan of Nico, and had more nightmarish dreams that told about Luke and Kronos’ plan to attack on camp half-blood through the labyrinth.

One more life-threatening prophecy, 4 friends in the darkness of labyrinth, maze with traps that might turn you mad. It was exciting to see how they were going to stop Luck’s army of monsters on their way to camp.

First of all, it was fun to see Tyson once more. I loved this book more because of him only. He has grown smarter and braver. Grover was in tricky situation with his deadline for finding Pan that led him to the place he dreaded most, ‘the confines of underground’ and that’s too with Tyson. It was amusing to see Tyson and Grover work together.

Rachel was quirky. She was surprisingly brave, calm, easy going even in deadly situation. I literally laughed when she attacked with plastic hair brush. Who needs celestial bronze when you have a hair brush! I always liked Nico, even though he was bit off the track. I liked how he learned about his sister’s wish and how it brought change in him. I felt for him. It was so unfair being son of Hades and I agreed with Percy’s thought about it.

Percy was as usual fab. He was wonderful friend and brother with heart of gold and clever mind. He was package full of wits, bravery, and right conscience. Poor Percy was troubled by girls around him- first Annabeth, Rachel and then Calypso. It was cute to see jealous Annabeth. She was great in the book. Her feelings for Luke was confusing and I could feel the frustration of Percy. Both of their feelings were genuine and I can’t wait to see development in their relationship.

What I loved more was, world building and myth. The world was interesting- Structure of maze, traps, and monsters in it. Giving the maze life and mind of its own was made the plot brilliant. Deadalus might be crazy for creating this outstanding structure. The story of eternal chase between Daedalus and Minos was gripping and enlightening. I loved to meet different Greek gods in each installment. This time our hero met Hera, Hephaestus and Pan who helped in their quest and gave godly lessons. Not just that but we meet older monsters, monster with bad anatomy, and older kids of Gaia.

There were many insightful messages in the book. How intelligence, greed, vengeance comes with deadly price, how it brings loneliness and bitterness in life that makes you do terrible things and gives no peace even after death; there is no way to cheat death even after many millennia; how being clever is not enough, one must be wise as well; no dark magic can bring back those who are gone, it only disturbs the peace of the spirit. Oh, and animal rights activists and environmentalists will be happy by this book.It was wonderful blend of Myth, modern world and lifelong lessons.

Climax was surprising. Even though this was my reread, I couldn’t guess the identity of Daedalus. Kronos’s plan was shocking and I was mesmerized by Pan’s words. I enjoyed battle scenes and loved the end with two surprise visits. Can’t wait to read final book in this series!

Overall, I just loved it! It is perfect book for fans of Greek Mythology, adventure, and witty characters.

Author : Rick Riordan

Previous books in series:

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